All Nippon Airways' last Boeing 747 returned from its final flight on March 31 as a crowd of plane buffs turned out at Tokyo's Haneda Airport to bid farewell and snap photographs of the iconic jumbo jet.
The final flight of the ANA passenger carrier marked the end of its more than four decades of operation at Haneda. Boeing 747s have transported enormous amounts of goods and passengers for 44 years, especially during Japan's rapid growth period of the 1970s and 80s.
During its last flight, ANA's jumbo jet shuttled between Tokyo and Naha, returning on the final leg to Haneda at 3 p.m. with a full-capacity 569 passengers.
ANA employees held a large banner filled with goodbye comments to celebrate the aircraft's final journey.
The jumbo jet slowly taxied in front of the Terminal 2 building in full view of the cheering and waving plane fans before traveling under a rainbow arch created by water cannons mounted on trucks on its way to its parking area.
ANA has gradually phased out the 747 as a passenger aircraft and currently relies on the more fuel-efficient Boeing 777 and other models.
The pilot who captained the 747's final flight said he feels as if he were losing his "best friend."
“I have flown (747 jumbo jets) for 27 years of my 35-year career as a pilot,” said Captain Joji Kanda, who also retired as a pilot on March 31.